Opposition calls for dismissal of finance minister
The main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has renewed calls for the dismissal of Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Chris Sinckler even as Prime Minister Freundel Stuart says the economic policies of his administration will help the country deal with its ailing economy.
Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, addressing supporters at the party’s ninth People’s Assembly on Monday night, also gave Prime Minister Stuart a one week deadline for sending home Sinckler.
“For this economy to grow, Chris Sinckler must go. And I say to Freundel Stuart that if by next Sunday Chris Sinckler is still Minister of Finance . . . then Freundel too must go,” she said, adding “he has one week to move Chris Sinckler as Minister of Finance”.
Over the last weekend, Prime Minister Stuart defended the economic policies of his administration saying that he was certain that the “route” being pursued would yield the success the island wants in the future.
The government has begun laying off employees as part of a programme to revive the ailing economy and has also indicated that it would not be rushing to fill vacancies within the public service.
The government’s policy has come in for criticism from the trade unions and even one senior minister, Dr. David Estwick, the agriculture minister, saying the government was using the “wrong medicine” to deal with the economic problems facing the island.
But as he addressed supporters of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) at a constituency branch meeting on Sunday night, Prime Minister Stuart said his administration was not playing “blind man’s bluff” with the local economy and would also not be derailed from its fiscal programme.
But Mottley told BLP supporters that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would soon be conducting a review of the local economy and she was confident it would give Barbados a failing grade.
“He (Prime Minister Stuart) can avoid this woman (Mottley), any time so. He can avoid the IDB (Inter American Development Bank), avoid the CDB, (Caribbean Development Bank) he can avoid everybody. “But when the IMF tells you tomorrow what I suspect they will tell them, for Chris Sinckler to remain in charge of this economy will be the biggest act of contempt by a leader of Barbados since Independence,” Mottley said without elaborating on what steps the BLP would take if Sinckler remains in office.
“Tomorrow marks a new judgment on the Barbados economy, and if as I suspect it (IMF) will say what everybody else has said, the people of Barbados must now go to a higher level and a firm purpose to recognise that the crisis is now not only upon us but confirmed in the judgment of the international community.
“And the only thing that can allow the crisis to eat us alive, is allowing this Government to continue to make decisions.”
She described the difference within the Cabinet over the economic policy as a “political distraction in the Democratic Labour Party that is fighting for its very political survival“